A Map of a Woman’s Heart – Nineteenth-Century Ideas about Womanhood

This illuminating vintage illustration was created between 1833–1842 – reportedly by “A Lady” – and tells us much about what the artist and his society believed about women.

The map is titled “The Open Country of Woman’s Heart, Exhibiting its internal communications, and the facilities and dangers to Travellers therein” and is part of the exhibit “Beauty, Virtue and Vice: Images of Women in Nineteenth-Century American Prints“.


According to this map, Love is at the center of a woman’s heart, and Sentimentality and Sentiment (including Good Sense, Discrimination, Hope, Enthusiasm, and Platonic Affection) take up a sizeable portion of the entire territory. This region of Sentiment and Sentimentality is separated from the larger, treacherous areas of a woman’s heart: Selfishness and Coquetry pose dangers, especially to gentleman travelers, and these attributes suggest that all women are basically untrustworthy. The largest regions, Love of Admiration, Love of Dress, and Love of Display, all suggest that women are also essentially shallow and frivolous

You can get more background information about this illustration and age at the exhibit’s website.

Also check out this nice collection of similar illustrations that are “Mapping the Human Condition“.

Via Brain Pickings